Summary: S.299 — 107th Congress (2001-2002)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for S.299. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Introduced in Senate (02/08/2001)

Pipeline Safety Enhancement Act of 2001 - Directs the Secretary of Transportation to implement the oil and gas pipeline safety improvement recommendations in the Department of Transportation (DOT) Inspector General's Report (RT-2000-069).

Amends Federal pipeline safety law to require, under regulations prescribed by the Secretary, each operator of a natural gas transmission pipeline and of a hazardous liquid pipeline, or, in the case of an intrastate pipeline facility operator, the appropriate State regulatory agency, to submit to the Secretary a program designed to enhance the qualifications of pipeline personnel and reduce the likelihood of accidents and injuries.

Requires the Secretary to issue regulations requiring operators of such pipelines to: (1) conduct an analysis of the risks to their pipeline facilities in environmentally sensitive areas and high-density population areas; and (2) adopt and implement an integrity management program for such facilities that reduces the risk of incident in those areas.

Revises the public education program requirements for gas pipeline facility owners or operators, including specified items. Applies such requirements to owners or operators of a hazardous liquid pipeline facility.

Requires an operator of a gas transmission or hazardous liquid pipeline facility to maintain liaison with the State emergency response commissions, and local emergency planning committees in the areas of pipeline right-of-way, established under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act of 1986 (or, in the absence of a committee, local firefighting, police, and other emergency response agencies) in each State in which it operates.

Establishes a program for making grants to State, county, and local governments in high consequence areas (as designated by the Secretary) for emergency response management, training, and technical assistance.

Increases from $25,000 to $500,000 the civil penalty for each facility operator failure to: (1) mark accurately the location of pipeline facilities in the vicinity of a demolition, excavation, tunneling, or construction; or (2) comply with safety standards, prepare and carry out an inspection and maintenance plan, allow access to records, or allow required entries or inspections. Increases the maximum civil penalty for a related series of violations from $500,000 to $1 million. Subjects an owner, operator, or person in charge of a hazardous liquid pipeline in which a hazardous liquid has been discharged to a civil penalty of at least $1,000 per barrel of oil or other hazardous liquid discharged, with a specified exception.

Authorizes the Secretary, if a State pipeline safety program certification is accepted, to enter into an agreement authorizing a State authority to: (1) participate in the oversight of interstate pipeline transportation, including a plan for the State authority to participate in special investigations involving incidents or new construction, as well as other activities involving interstate pipeline transportation; or (2) assume additional inspection or investigatory duties.

Requires any owner or operator of a hazardous liquid pipeline facility to report to the Secretary each release to the environment greater than five gallons of the hazardous liquid or carbon dioxide.

Requires the DOT research and development program to include research directed toward the development of alternative technologies to: (1) expand the defect detection capabilities of internal inspection devices; (2) inspect pipelines that cannot accommodate internal inspection devices available on the date of enactment; and (3) develop innovative techniques measuring the structural integrity of pipelines.

Requires the Secretary to develop and implement a strategic plan to reduce the annual number of accidental releases from pipelines caused by damage by outside force by 25 percent below the number for the year in which this Act is enacted.

Sets forth whistle blower protections prohibiting discrimination by pipeline operators or contractors or subcontractors against employees who: (1) provide information, directly or indirectly, to the employer or the Federal Government about any alleged violation of Federal law or regulations relating to pipeline safety; (2) file a related Federal proceeding; or (3) testify or otherwise assist or participate in such a proceeding.

Directs the DOT Inspector General to analyze and report to specified congressional committees on whether DOT assessment of pipeline fines and penalties are an effective deterrent for reducing pipeline safety risks.

Authorizes the Secretary to study how best to preserve environmental resources in conjunction with maintaining pipeline rights-of-way.

Requires the Secretary to study land use practices and zoning ordinances that affect pipeline rights-of-way.

Repeals the requirement that the Secretary, when issuing pipeline safety standards, must determine that the benefits of such standard justify its costs.